Freemake Music Box is a free program that will let you find and listen to almost any song online and create playlists. It is a bit like Spotify, minus the geographic restrictions and the ads, but also minus the support for handheld devices and playlist sharing between users. Note that downloading music tracks locally is NOT supported in the version we tested.
But be that as it may, Freemake Music Box is a wonderful way to find and listen to music which finds across multiple places on the internet. It also supports displaying music videos, which it pulls from YouTube.
Here’s some PROS and a WISH LIST
- The interface: is really nice; uncluttered, clean, and modern. A great way to listen to music.
- Pulls album art: in the list of results, most of the time. Which makes for a nice music browsing experience.
- Search/filtering: start with a search string (say, the name of the band), then click on a link in the search results (such as the name of an album), and you will get multiple layers of filtering, which will displayed in the search box and you can remove or add filters (see image to the right).
- Features promised in future versions: Andoird and iOS device support, playlist syncing across PCs or devices, integration with your local music files.
WISH LIST (or how this program can be even better).
- The ability to listen offline: or to download music files locally. This is likely not supported to avoid any legality issues.
- The ability to share playlists on Facebook: which Spotify supports and is a rather nice feature.
- A quality indicator: since the quality of music files on the internet varies greatly, if would be great to be able to filter by a certain minimum quality level.
- The ability to exclude sources: to be able to tell it not to pull music from YouTube, for example.
The verdict: a nice little app that keeps it simple, thank you very much. Unlike other social music services, it will not suggest music that you like, it will not display band and music information and images, and it will not offer to create a custom radio channel based on keywords or what it thinks you might like. It is not a social music service, but merely a tool that lets you create playlists using the huge mass of music that is out there on the internet, and listen to these provided that you are online.
I am not sure if I would rather use Freemake Music Box or any of the other social music services (e.g. Spotify, GrooveShark, Last.fm). One reason to do so is that Freemake Music Box doesn’t have the geographic restrictions that many social music services do if you live outside the US or Western Europe (the ones I sited are all geo-restricted, except for GrooveShark). Another reason: there are no ads, unlike all the ones I just mentioned. In the end it comes down to this: if you just want something simple, elegant, ad-free and clean to find music and create playlists for free then check out Freemake Music Box. You will not be disappointed.
A video of Freemake Music Box in action:
Version tested: 0.9.0.0
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. Requires MS .NET Framework 4.0
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx. 18.9 megs).